When face mask policies were introduced for air travel last year, ‘but I’m drinking’ became a common excuse and passengers could nurse a Starbucks throughout the entire flight.
That’s what Texas Senator Ted Cruz did last summer,
— Hosseh (@hossehenad) July 13, 2020
However the ruse was exposed because he didn’t wear a mask over his nose and mouth inside the terminal when he’d travel, either.
"isn't everyone supposed to be wearing masks including Senators?" https://t.co/OZi4oaeJJQ
From DCA's website: "face coverings are required for everyone at Reagan National Airport" pic.twitter.com/GXOu9VX86N
— PoPville (@PoPville) June 12, 2020
Back in September one man nursed a can of Pringles for an entire four hour flight just to see if he could. The airline confirmed he was fully within his rights.
This is no longer acceptable traveling on U.S. airlines. The rules now say you have to put your mask back on between bites or sips.
- American says,
You can briefly lower or remove your face covering while actively eating, drinking or taking oral medication, but it must be worn between bites and sips.
- United says,
There may be times when you may need to remove your mask in the airport or on the aircraft, such as when briefly eating or drinking. Federal law requires you to immediately put your mask back on between bites and sips.
- Delta says “Prolonged periods of mask removal are not permitted for eating or drinking – masks need to be worn between bites and sips.”
Tolerance for this is wearing thin elsewhere in the world, too. Lufthansa, for instance, has even gotten tougher about what masks may be worn. People who travel really should wear better quality masks. And the ‘but I’m eating’ exception no longer gives passengers a mask-free flight pass there, either.
Miikka Peuravirta has been banned from Finnair for 6 months for taking his mask off to eat and drink. The airline says it’s permitted to do so ‘for a limited time’. The passenger says he ‘didn’t know what a limited time meant’.
When drinks were served on the hour-long flight from Oulu to Helsinki, he nursed his drink and started nibbling on nuts. He was told to wear his mask, but refused because he was eating. According to his Facebook live, it was a lot of nuts.
He was given a written warning, and police met the aircraft on arrival in Helsinki. He’s been banned from Finnair not for a mask rule violation as such, but for failure to follow crewmember instructions.
Make no mistake: nursing your nuts is no longer an excuse to go maskless on board an aircraft. Put your mask back on between bits or sips if it’s going to be more than a couple of seconds.